Ask a group of experienced long-distance cyclists what would be their ideal expedition bike and, I guarantee, there would be little agreement about the detail. We might all agree that it should be a (roughly) diamond shaped frame, with two wheels, a wide range of gears and the capacity to carry luggage. But beyond that, everything (I mean absolutely everything) is open to discussion. And that is one of the things I love about cycling and associating with fellow cyclists……there’s never a dull moment! Never a chance to be smug or complacent……
Some will study the following vital stats of my new Dave Yates, and throw their hands up in horror, and shower me with suitably corrective advice. Some will agree, and quietly say “good choice”. Others, who haven’t given much thought to the equipment on their bike, might find some useful tips for a future machine. So let’s risk it and reveal all:
Frame: Reynolds 525 chromoly steel (sturdy and comfortable on long distances and easy to repair)
Wheels: 26″ Mavic rims with Chris King hubs, and 35mm Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres (26″ are easier to replace than 700c)
Brakes: Shimano Deore XT V brakes (disc brakes are arguably better, but harder to repair and replace in remote areas)
Transmission: Shimano Deore XT throughout, with rapid fire shifters (durable touring stuff)
Gearing: Rear: 11-34, Front: 48/36/26 giving a gear range of 19″- 106″ (high enough for rapid descents, low enough to climb Everest!)
Headset: Chris King Sealed Bearing “no Thread”
Bottom bracket: Chris King MTN
Handlebars: Ritchey Pro (straight bars with bar ends….my preference for long days in the saddle)
Stem: Thomson Elite x4
Seat post: Thomson Elite
Saddle: Brooks Pro (when it’s broken in, it should be the best)
Pedals: Shimano XT (with a platform for some comfort, and recessed cleats for walking off the bike).
In a nutshell, my choice of bike design was guided entirely by a need for comfort and stability, and my choice of materials and equipment was guided entirely by performance and replaceability.